The Rev. Al Sharpton defended Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Saturday, calling Mayor Rahm Emanuel a hypocrite for criticizing Foxx over dropping charges against Jussie Smollett while ignoring his own mishandling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting.
The “Empire” actor was indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report back on March 8. However, Foxx dropped all charges and released a statement describing her decision as a “just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.” Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson were outraged.
“The reason this is of national significance to me, there is a marked difference between how they reacted to this [Smollett case] and how they reacted to the Laquan McDonald case. They were not outraged when the video was withheld until after the mayor’s election,” said Sharpton who made his remarks during a keynote speech in Chicago at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Chicago Tribune reported.
In 2015, a judge ordered city officials to release police dash cam video that showed former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke gunning down McDonald, an African-American teenager, as he veered away from the cops—not attacking as the officers claimed. A judge forced officials to release the footage more than a year after the shooting, which caused many to believe that city officials and the police wanted to cover up the shooting.
Foxx has also pushed back on criticism from the mayor and police commissioner. She recently explained in detail how Smollett “has not been exonerated; he has not been found innocent.” But she also says “prosecutors are required to balance the severity of the crime against the likelihood of securing a conviction.”
“For a variety of reasons, including public statements made about the evidence in this case, my office believed the likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain,” she added. That appeared to be a clear dig at Johnson who spoke to the press more than Smollett and made statements that were contradictory, even by the lawyer of Ola and Abel Osundairo (the lawyer said the $3,500 check was for training while Johnson said it was to stage a hoax), the brothers whom Smollett allegedly paid to attack him.
On Jan. 29, while walking to a subway, Smollett claimed two men yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, investigators told The Hollywood Reporter. They allegedly punched and poured bleach on him while one of the suspects put a rope around his neck. As they fled the scene, Smollett told police they said, “This is MAGA country.”
Smollett has maintained his innocence from the beginning.